“Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.”
Sports, as well as life, are full of clichés like this. There are many things I could write about trying to explain what the nation witnessed, yet again, at Doak Campbell Staduim. I’m going to go in a different direction.
The best team on the field didn’t win Saturday night. I’m not suggesting that Samford is more talented, although it seemed like it at times, but Samford was a better overall TEAM that night from coaching, offense, defens, special teams, equipment staff, mascot etc.
Before the season I took for granted wins, including this one, thinking Samford was a run of the mill FCS school. After a smidgen of research, I could see that the quarterback Devlin Hodges is damn good and a draft prospect. Their wide receiver from right in Willie Taggart’s backyard is related to Seminole legend Peter Warrick. Hell, he was a three-star prospect and probably good enough to go to FSU. Ahmad Gooden, the number 99 that we saw all over the place until a targeting penalty (which I personally hate was called), probably earned himself a draft spot after this game.
We also saw head coach Chris Hatcher come up with a perfect game plan for FSU, reminiscent of his days at Valdosta State University, right up the road from Tallahassee. His game plan was lethal and simple – attack, attack, attack. It’s really the only way to play when you’ve got nothing to lose. Go right at them.
What’s the worst that could happen? They beat you by 75?
That’s what they brought you in for, but why take the ass whipping when you can give it.
Maybe you stun them with an unexpected shot similar to the biblical character David when he fought Goliath. It worked because he had his underfunded, facilities-lacking, gang of misfits ready to play a school that has everything.
Everybody is talking about what FSU didn’t do instead of applauding what Samford, as well as a host of other FCS schools, did do. They kicked ass and almost accomplished something that they haven’t been able to do since the 1930s in beating a FBS school.
Now, as far as FSU, the game had elements of the good, the bad and the ugly, similar to FSU’s alternative fight song named “Seminole Uprising.” There are lessons to be learned to start putting a better product on the field.
Not much, but a win is a win.
Was it embarrassing? Yes.
You know what’s more embarrassing? Losing to an FCS school.
Sometimes just winning is the spark that you need to turn the corner.
The offense and defense looked better in the second half as we saw some semblance of what this Gulf Coast offense can look like when run effectively. We also saw the defense rebound after having the taste slapped out of their mouths in the first half. I like Harlon Barnett’s ability to calm down his unit down and that he’s not opposed to benching guys who don’t perform to his expectations.
It took late game heroics to beat a team FSU should’ve ran off the field midway in the second quarter. To be frank, this is an undisciplined team that is having a hard time executing. There is talent on this roster, but there are incredible holes that make this team look worse.
Everyone points out the offensive line and linebacker; they look worse when everyone around them takes opportunities to make mistakes.
For example, the offensive line isn’t great at anything currently, but in the run game if the defensive ends crash down to the middle of the line of scrimmage, the quarterback has to pull the ball in the zone read and run wide. The few times this was done Deondre Francois had success. It keeps a defense honest.
On the defensive side of the ball, I see four draftable lineman who cannot create consistent pressure or collapse a pocket. At times I was confused who the FBS program and which team was full of NFL players.
Samford bullied the like of scrimmage
No matter your thoughts on the coaches, at a certain point, personal pride has to come into play.
I remember in 2005, coming off of a victory against Miami, we played awful in the first half against Citadel. They flat out punched us in the mouth. I believe we were up by like two points at halftime.
We went into the locker room embarrassed at ourselves. We knew we were better than this and every one of those guys on the other sideline would sacrifice it all to be in our spot. No coach was going be able to go on that field and play for us. We had to do it ourselves.
You’ve got to go out and execute the task given to you. Not just for yourself. Not just for your teammate, but for the brand. For those who played before you and for the kids who look up to you and want to wear the same helmets that you do.
Teams are supposed to have a healthy fear of FSU. You gain that not by talking, but by making it up in your mind that each play you’re going to, “attack with a reckless abandon and total disregard for personal safety,” as old man Bowden would say.
It doesn’t matter if the talent is there or not, the Noles effort, focus and attention to detail is lacking. We can blame the staff, but that really comes down to internal leadership and playing for each other. They’ve got to focus on the details and just downright play harder. When you’re a superior athlete it doesn’t matter if it’s a stupid play call at times, you beat your man and good things happen.
Hopefully this was a wake-up call to toughen up and make it happen. That’s what war daddies and bad asses do.
Article Originally Appeared on Gridiron Now: http://gridironnow.com/seminoles-should-be-embarrassed-do-they-have-what-it-takes-to-change-it